straw man


Definition of straw man

1 : a weak or imaginary opposition (such as an argument or adversary) set up only to be easily confuted
2 : a person set up to serve as a cover for a usually questionable transaction

Examples of straw man in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Richard Warshak, a leading proponent of parental alienation theory, has written that many critics misunderstand the theory or create a straw man to dismiss it. Kathryn Joyce, Longreads, "She Said Her Husband Hit Her. She Lost Custody of Their Kids," 10 Aug. 2020 In Carthage, that means identifying a local to serve as his straw man (and potential patsy), settling eventually on good old boy Tyler Lee, who bartends at a bikini club, and his good Christian wife Chalene, she of the bake sales and six children. Tod Goldberg, USA TODAY, "Review: Steven Wright's 'The Coyotes of Carthage' is a crackerjack debut political novel," 14 Apr. 2020 Poor Chuck D, bred on leftist pop sentiment — and being the cleverest student of Malcolm X, Gil-Scott Heron, Frank Zappa, Oscar Brown Jr., and Jean-Luc Godard — has lately been grasping at straw men. Armond White, National Review, "Public Enemy Meets the Enemy," 8 Apr. 2020 The Utah Senator set up the straw man that the President’s lawyers said an impeachable act must also be a criminal offense. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "James Madison 1, Nancy Pelosi 0," 5 Feb. 2020 These are simplified straw man (and woman) set-ups. Zach Freeman,, "April Macie at Zanies Chicago: The sex jokes seem a little tired," 15 Sep. 2019 White House aides met on Tuesday with staff for Democratic members of the House Judiciary Committee as well as staffers for Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, about straw man purchasing legislation, said a senior administration official. NBC News, "Trump is a man in search of a message on gun control," 21 Aug. 2019 Warren, who was then a member of Harvard’s faculty, was being with her statement, as Obama was with his, a pyromaniac in a field of straw men (as William F. Buckley characterized his friend John Kenneth Galbraith, a Harvard economist). George Will, Twin Cities, "George Will: Is the individual obsolete?," 17 July 2019 The issue has produced a lot of straw men, largely owing to a revenue and salary model that differs a great deal from most American sports. Eliott C. Mclaughlin, CNN, "World Cup in hand, US women's soccer team moves to battle for equal pay. Here's what you need to know," 8 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'straw man.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of straw man

1886, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for straw man

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The first known use of straw man was in 1886

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Statistics for straw man

Last Updated

21 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Straw man.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for straw man

straw man


English Language Learners Definition of straw man

US : a weak or imaginary argument or opponent that is set up to be easily defeated

straw man


Legal Definition of straw man

: an intermediary for a transaction (as a conveyance of real property)

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